The secret to practising active mindfulness

04 October 2018

What is it you think about when you hear the word Mindfulness?

Do you think of a calm and relaxing image? A picture of sheer serenity? An image of somebody who has all the time in the world, without a care? For some this is true, however, those who practice mindfulness, can do this every day when the moment arises.

In fact, we make the moment arise ourselves. We just live in the moment, being ever present in the moment. Sound easy? Well it is if you take time for you and allow time to study and practice.

The image of a person sat by a lake, without any digital interference isn’t quite a true reflection. Mindfulness or meditation isn’t a self-practice for the social elite and is sometime stereotyped in certain circles. Mindfulness and its benefits go beyond self-help. It helps us focus, grow, empathise, stay healthy and enables us to contribute to a kinder, more just society. Anyone, yes anyone can practice it.

In definition, mindful awareness is paying attention to the present moment experiences, with openness, curiosity and a willingness to be with what is. Mindfulness is rooted in Buddhist philosophy and the practice tradition is more than two and a half thousand years old.

What is a present moment experience?

It is whatever you are feeling, seeing, hearing, tasting and smelling, and it uses all our senses, which contribute to living in the present moment. Whatever physical sensation you are noticing, a change in temperature, the acidic taste of a boiled sweet, listening to a person speak or a physical sensation like feeling hungry, that is a present moment. Mindfulness is paying attention to a present moment experience. Allow those sensations to be there, be curious and take interest.

So, what about thoughts? How many times have we heard the phrases “don’t think about it,” “forget about it,” “put it to the back of your mind,” – is that being mindful or a way of preserving a healthy mindset? It isn’t.

Being mindful allows the thoughts that visit the opportunity to appear, be acknowledged without judgement and then asked to leave. There is no uneasiness to have these thoughts. Some thoughts are from the past, some thoughts are for way in the future. We can’t change what happened yesterday and we can’t fear tomorrow because we don’t know what tomorrow is going to bring.

In fact, we fear the fear itself usually, and that is not being mindful. If we think and live in the present, there is no need to have this underlying fear.

Mindfulness and meditation

Mindfulness and Meditation is a practice that we use to set aside time to pay attention to experiences and to accept and understand feelings. With this initial practice established, it then allows us to factor this into everyday life. The practice itself has science-supported facts which vouch for its benefits including:

How it Affects the Brain

Breathing techniques, posture and living in the moment during mindful meditation offers maximum wellbeing to body and mind. So, take a moment to focus on what you are feeling and thinking. Notice it, allow it to just be there. Being mindful promotes kindness and a universal feeling of wellbeing.

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